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Photo essay: Mexican indigenous front agitates for rights of migrants in the US

Text and photos by David Bacon


MAY 31, 2008 -- The assembly of the Indigenous Front of Binational Organisations in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, one of the poorest areas in Mexico. A large percentage of the indigenous population of Oaxaca and other states has left to work in northern Mexico and in the United States. The FIOB is a political organisation of indigenous communities and migrants, with chapters in Mexico and the US. It advocates for the rights of migrants, and for the right not to migrate -- for economic development which would enable people to stay home.

Delegates discuss FIOB's by-laws and political positions, vote to adopt them, and then elect new binational leadership in a democratic and open process. Julio Sandoval, a delegate from Baja California, recounts his experience as a political prisoner in the penitentiary of Ensenaada, where he was held for three years after leading a fight for housing for indigenous migrants. At the end of the assembly, Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, newly elected as FIOB's binational coordinator, addresses the delegates, and a group of Triqui women rise to their feet with a clenched-fist salute.






For more articles and images on immigration, see

Coming in September 2008, from Beacon Press: Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants,


See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006),

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004),

David Bacon, photographs and stories,

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